Egypt’s Dar Al-Ifta, the body responsible for issuing religious edicts, is set to observe the crescent moon of the holy month of Ramadan on Wednesday, a statement by the religious authority said.
The holy month comes this year amid worries that the global coronavirus pandemic would trouble Islamic fasting month’s social gatherings, spiritual reflection and prayers.
Ibrahim Negm, advisor to the Grand Mufti of Egypt, said a sharia committee and scientific committees will observe Ramadan’s crescent moon in six areas, namely, Aswan, Qena, Sohag, Matrouh, El-Wahat and Fayoum.
They will provide adequate data to the Grand Mufti to announce official timings and the beginning of the first day of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.
According to astronomical calculations, the beginning of Ramadan during the Islamic year of 1441 will be on Friday April 24.
Ramadan is expected to last for 30 days, which means that it will end on May 23
The holy month is the ninth in the Islamic calendar, the month in which the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed.
More than a billion Muslims around the world abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk during Ramadan as part of the Islamic fasting observation.
The Islamic world is set to see a Ramadan that is unprecedented, as restrictions pushed by the pandemic is expected to take a toll on the month’s worship spirit.
Egypt ordered the closure of mosques and churches 21 March for two weeks in a move aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The closure was extended indefinitely at the end of March.
Egyptian authorities said all congregational religious activities, including communal prayers in mosques, will continue to be suspended during Ramadan.
Other public activities planned for Ramadan, such as charity banquets for the poor to break their fast, have also been suspended.
A two-week nighttime curfew, which first began 25 March, was extended until 23 April.
The curfew is expected to be extended during the month of Ramadan, according to a Cabinet spokesman last week, yet new revised curfew hours for the Islamic month are set to be determined soon.